Originally formed in the fall of 2000 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, Thanks Mr. Brown has enjoyed a great amount of success in the upstate NY area playing for packed houses in a variety of venues. The band is a 6-piece piano-based rock band with a horn section. Band members include Mike Santoro - lead vocals (dynamic frontman from Bristol, CT), Bear McCans - piano/bass/vocals (accomplished multi-instrumentalist from NJ), Joey Lorenz - bass/piano (Ithaca College music performance major for bass from Syracuse, NY), Sky Costello - drums (also a talented multi-instrumentalist from Newton, MA), Jason Rugg - alto saxophone (formerly of Rochester groups Round About Midnight and Uncle Funkbox), and Gabe Posner - tenor/bari saxophone (accomplished improviser from MA).
Whereas most music from the college scene is more guitar-oriented rock, Thanks Mr. Brown combines a blend of piano pop and horn section funk. The band's fun and original sound has been simply described as "Billy Joel meets Presidents of the USA in Ben Folds' basement" (Jeff Miller, Ithaca Times). Qualities of the band include layered harmonies, strong songwriting abilities with lyrical ideas coming equally from humorous fiction and real-life experiences, and tasteful and enjoyable cover songs ranging from artists like Ben Folds, Stevie Wonder, Weezer, Elton John, Goldfinger, and Chicago. Santoro and McCans are the primary lyricists, while Lorenz, Costello, Santoro, and McCans have all written music for the group creating a unique and different style for each song. Also integral to the band are horn section members Rugg and Posner whose remarkable abilities lend yet another facet to this special lineup.
"Music's Gonna Save Me", Thanks Mr. Brown's first release, was recorded in the fall of 2001. Recorded in Macedon, NY by Mike Muscarella of Belly of the Whale Studios and mastered at Dynamic Recording in Rochester, NY, the eight songs collected for the band's first album is an impressive mix of earnest piano-riffs and horn section funk. "Original," "bouncy-rock," and "amazing pop songs" are just a few words to describe Thanks Mr. Brown's music.